Fullerton Child Custody Lawyer

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Fullerton Child Custody Lawyer

Fullerton Child Custody Attorney

A Fullerton child custody lawyer from the Law Offices of Ronda A. Middleton can assist you with your child custody needs, whether your custody case is under dispute with your divorcing spouse or if the terms are generally agreed upon. An experienced and dedicated family law attorney from our firm can assist you with finalizing terms for child support and visitation orders, as well as physical and legal custody.

During the divorce process, parents want to be sure that their children are protected. Not only do they want to shield their children from the details of the divorce while it is occurring, but they also want to ensure that the final judgment of the divorce will result in a positive outcome for their child’s future, including adequate child support and custody arrangement. At the Law Offices of Ronda A. Middleton, we can help.

You may be concerned about the well-being of your child when they are around your spouse or the ability of your spouse to make responsible decisions for your child. In this situation, a compassionate child custody attorney from our firm can help you fight for full custody of your child. Despite the needs of your custody case, we will prioritize your rights as a parent with the safety and security of your child in mind to help you work towards a custody agreement that is right for your family.

Understanding California Child Custody: Physical vs. Legal Custody

In Orange County, California, the two major forms of custody are physical and legal custody. Legal custody refers to the ability of one parent to make important decisions about the child’s life, such as issues pertaining to their education, healthcare, religious practices, and daily schedule.

For example, the parent or parents with legal custody over a child will decide whether the child will attend public or private school and whether they should attend a religious institution, such as a mosque or church. Additionally, they will make decisions about the child’s healthcare needs, including their insurance policy coverage, medical providers or specialists, and any medical procedures or treatment plans needed.

Physical custody, on the other hand, refers to with which parent the child will physically reside. Physical custody dictates where children spend the majority of their time. It’s important to note that a child can still see a parent who does not have physical custody if the other parent agrees to the terms.

What Is the Difference Between Sole and Joint Child Custody?

Sole custody means that one parent alone is responsible for the dependent child, while joint custody implies that both parents share the responsibility. Both physical and legal custody can be either joint or sole custody. California courts will typically prioritize a joint custody agreement if both parents are able to be adequate guardians, as it is typically in the child’s best interest to have the presence of both parents in their developing years.

Sole v. Joint Physical Custody

When a parent has sole physical custody, the children reside with only the custodial parent. This is also referred to as having full or full-time custody, which includes weekdays, weekends, and holidays. The court may order that the noncustodial parent may be granted time with the children, such as on the weekends or during holidays.

Joint physical custody involves a shared or split living plan for the child between the two houses of both parents. A visitation plan must be agreed upon between the two custodial parents. They must determine which days of the week the children will be at each house and how to share holiday visitation.

For example, one parent may be granted custody of the children on weekdays, while the children would spend their weekends with the other parent. Or, the children may alternate entire weeks at a time with each parent. An experienced family lawyer can help you establish a visitation plan that is optimal for your children and your family.

Sole v. Joint Legal Custody

Sole legal custody would mean that only one parent is responsible for making all critical legal decisions pertaining to the child’s life. For younger children, such as toddlers, this would include making decisions about vaccination regimens, choosing an adequate daycare facility, and selecting a health insurance policy.

For older children, such as teenagers, this could look like setting curfews, allowing them to participate in certain extracurricular activities, or getting a drivers license.

Joint legal custody refers to both parents making significant legal decisions together about the child’s life. Joint custody requires communication and teamwork. This is why it is important to work with a family lawyer who can help you protect your relationship with your divorcing spouse during and after the divorce process. Adequate negotiation and mediation can help avoid cutthroat legal processes, which can potentially damage a relationship and family dynamics in the long term.

How Much Does a California Child Custody Lawyer Cost?

The cost of a child custody lawyer in California can vary, depending on the details of your child custody case. If your case is highly disputed and complex, then hourly rates and retainers will likely be higher. Retainers in Orange County can start at $5,000 to $15,000 depending on the complexity of the case.

If you are fighting for full custody or against having custody taken away from you, this can also raise expense since litigation cannot be avoided. Such a case must go to court, and evidence pertaining to issues such as domestic abuse, substance abuse, or severe criminal activity must be presented.

When consulting with a child custody attorney in Fullerton, it’s essential to talk with them about their legal fees, as well as receive an estimate of the potential cost of your case. At the Law Offices of Ronda A. Middleton, we are diligent about financial transparency with our clients so that there are no surprises down the line.

Protecting Your Child’s Best Interests In Custody And Visitation

Resolving child custody and visitation matters during a divorce or separation can be a very sensitive process. It is important to reach a solution that is in the best interests of the children through means that cause the least amount of disruption to the family.

At The Law Offices of Ronda A. Middleton, we are committed to helping parents find favorable resolutions in their child custody and visitation cases. From our offices in Fullerton, we represent clients throughout Orange County and Southern California. Our goal is the same as yours: putting your child’s best interests first. We strive to create and maintain the most beneficial parenting plan for all parties because we know how important your family is to you.

Determining Where Your Child Will Live and When

Custody is usually shared between parents equally unless one parent has a history of chemical dependency, child abuse, or child molestation. Child custody arrangements can be tailored around schedules of parents who travel often or work unusual hours.

Special situations may give rise to monitored visitations, court-supervised custody, and court-mandated classes about co-parenting. Both family counseling and legal counsel can be useful in dealing with the difficult task of raising children when the marriage has faltered. At The Law Offices of Ronda A. Middleton, we routinely handle child custody issues and strive to help create arrangements that put children’s well-being first.

About Joint Custody and Parenting Plans

Child custody arrangements can include joint legal custody, where both parents share the decision-making regarding education, nonemergency medical treatment, and other designated items, such as extracurricular activities. Although one parent may be awarded physical custody, joint custody still means the parents share decision-making and parenting time. Joint custody can be an equal or 50/50 parenting time arrangement, but this is not mandatory.

The best parenting plan takes into account many factors, including the ages of the children, the parents’ work schedules, the distance between homes, the location of schools, and, in some cases, the preferences of the child or children.

How To Reach an Agreement

It is usually in the child’s best interest for parents to work together to solve child custody issues. When parents are able to resolve these matters outside of the courts through mediation or collaborative law methods, they may cooperate in pursuit of child-focused goals, resulting in less harm to the child. However, if there are complex issues involving chemical dependency or abuse, litigation may become necessary. A compassionate, skilled advocate can benefit your family.

Contact Us Today

We will help you determine how to proceed with your custody and child support matters. Call or contact us online to schedule a free consultation to start discussing your case. You can expect a 24-hour response to your inquiry.

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